Your pregnancy month by month
There’s a lot to consider when you’re pregnant, including healthy eating in pregnancy, antenatal care, decisions you need to make about labour and birth, coping with common pregnancy problems, and when pregnancy goes wrong.
You can find out about all these and also read about your baby’s development in our week by week pregnancy content.
Pregnancy weeks 0-8 (2 MONTHS)
Three weeks after the first day of your last period, your fertilised egg moves slowly along the fallopian tube towards the womb. You might start to notice the first signs and symptoms of pregnancy.
Pregnancy weeks 9, 10, 11, 12 (2-3months)
By now the face is slowly forming, and the eyes are more obvious and have some colour in them. You might still be feeling tired and sick, but for many women this should clear up soon.
Pregnancy weeks 13, 14, 15, 16 (3-4 MONTHS)
At 14 weeks, the baby is about 85mm long from head to bottom. If you’ve been& feeling sick and tired, you’ll probably start to feel better when you’re around 13 or 14 weeks pregnant.
Pregnancy weeks 17, 18, 19, 20 (4-5 MONTHS)
Your baby’s body grows bigger so the head and body are more in proportion.
Pregnancy weeks 21, 22, 23, 24 ( 5-6 MONTHS )
When you’re 24 weeks pregnant, the baby has a chance of survival if she or he is born. Most babies born before this time cannot live because their lungs and other vital organs aren’t developed enough.
Pregnancy weeks 25, 26, 27, 28 ( 6-7 MONTHS)
Your baby may begin to follow a pattern for waking and sleeping. Very often this is a different pattern from yours, so when you go to bed at night, the baby may wake up and start kicking.
Pregnancy weeks 29, 30, 31, 32 ( 7-8 MONTHS)
By about 32 weeks the baby is usually lying with its head pointing downwards, ready for birth.
Pregnancy weeks 33, 34, 35, 36 (8-9 MONTHS)
Your baby’s bones are starting to harden now, even though the skull bones will stay soft and separated to make the journey through the birth canal easier.
Pregnancy weeks 37, 38, 39, 40 (BEYOND 9 MONTHS)
The amniotic fluid now turns into waste, called meconium, in the baby’s intestines, and the soft hair (lanugo) that covered your baby’s body is now almost all gone.
Pregnancy weeks 40 plus
If your baby is overdue
Pregnancy normally lasts about 40 weeks – that’s around 280 days from the first day of your last period.
Most women go into labour a week either side of this date, but some women go overdue.
If your labour doesn’t start by the time you’re 40 weeks pregnant and this is your first pregnancy, your midwife will offer you a membrane sweep at your 40 and 41 weeks appointments.
If you’ve had a baby before, you’ll be offered this just at your 41 weeks appointment.
A membrane sweep involves having a vaginal (internal) examination that stimulates the cervix (neck of your womb) to produce hormones that may trigger natural labour.
You don’t have to have this – you can discuss it with your midwife.
Induction of labour
If your labour still doesn’t start naturally after this, your midwife or doctor will suggest a date to have your labour induced.
If you don’t want your labour to be induced and your pregnancy continues to 42 weeks or beyond, you and your baby will be monitored.
Monitoring you and your baby
Your doctor will check both you and your baby are healthy by offering you ultrasound scans , NST and checking your baby’s movement and heartbeat.
If there are any concerns about your baby, your doctor will suggest that labour is induced.
Induction is always planned in advance, so you’ll be able to discuss the advantages and disadvantages with your doctor, and find out why he thinks your labour should be induced.
It’s your choice whether to have your labour induced or not.
Over 42 weeks pregnant
Most women go into labour naturally by the time they’re 42 weeks pregnant.
If your pregnancy lasts longer than 42 weeks and you decide not to have your labour induced, you should be offered increased monitoring to check your baby’s wellbeing.
There’s a higher risk of stillbirth if you go over 42 weeks pregnant, although most babies remain healthy.
At the moment, there’s no way to reliably predict which babies are at increased risk of stillbirth, so induction is offered to all women who don’t go into labour by 42 weeks.
Having induction of labour after the date your baby is due doesn’t increase the chance of having a caesarean section.